link) in the small village of Great Missenden (Point C), about 30 minutes away.
On to the tour. First of all, I'm not a huge Harry Potter fan but the others are (particularly Nicole and Kuk). I enjoyed the day nonetheless but would imagine that the real fanatics out there would be in heaven. Some of the filming was done on location but a great deal of it was done in the studio (obviously). The tour takes you through some of the sets and shows the costumes, props, etc.
Harry's bedroom under the stairs is shown above (it's in the queuing area before entry).
The Great Hall
another Great Hall shot
some of the original costumes including young Harry first cloak and hat. I did find it interesting that the movies took 10 years to produce so the young actors literally grew up together with their larger studio families as they made the films
Harry's bedroom in the Gryffindor boys dormitory (the beds became much too small as the boys grew and they had to curl up to fit into them)
The Gryffindor common room with the non-wizard attire
Nicole in front of the Griffin stairwell to Dumbledore's office
The "vault cart" and green screen. This a multi-axis machine to allow the required motion. The green screen allows for backgrounds to be added in post-production.
speaking of which, the kids got to hop in front a a green screen themselves . . . here's Alex
Alex and Nicole with Karl and Kalle (remember we saw this train and viaduct in Glenfinnan, Scotland)
There was a well placed refreshment stand after the first studio. Here are the troops having a Butterbeer (cream soda). Note the hanging digital audio video guides -- a nice add on to provide some additional material to the experience.
The kids in Hagrid's motorcycle. I didn't get a picture of Hagrid's hut but I did find a few facts interesting. They had 2 versions. One was greater than life size to make the kids look small and another was smaller than life size to make Hagrid look big (the former was shown in the studio tour). The actor for Hagrid (Robbie Coltrane) is not particularly large, but his stunt double is (6'10" former English rugby player Martin Bayfield).
Another tidbit: they transported Hagrids hut to Glencoe for some of the filming and it rained solid for all 5 weeks! Glad our day in Glencoe wasn't like that.
Alex's turn as driver
on to the Backlot and the Riddle Family Gravestone
The next studio started with the creature shop. They built a life size Dobby for the actors to work with. This was then scanned in for the Visual Effects team to use for the Computer Generated Graphics as seen in the film.
Griphook the Goblin
artist sketch of Dobby . . . a lot of work goes into the pre-production phase of making the movies
The tour took about 3 hours and we all enjoyed it.
After a quick bite in the cafe we drove to Great Missenden where Roald Dahl lived during the later half of his life.
link) which we did not visit because it's not really open (Felicity Dahl, Roald's second wife, still lives there).
Freys and Seppanens ready to go
Alex isn't quite at pilot height
The setup for the Fantastic Mr. Fox was based on this
The museum was geared towards kids. Alex goofing with the large BFG ears.
We did not partake in Cafe Twit but could not pass up the photo op.
Though we enjoyed the quick visit the general reaction was "Is that it?". I came away feeling they could do much more. Most of the info (if not more) can be gathered from the Wiki link though true fans may like the bits in the museum. Definitely not worth a special trip but okay if you are in the area and are a fan.
There it is. I guess leaving small coins is a show of respect? Note the ball of foil at the top as well. Not a big enough fan to know what the onion is meant to represent.
We then walked back to the village and hit the sweet shop across the street from the museum.
Many of the crew got milkshakes which were closer to the "proper" form which we are used to (i.e. they were actually somewhat thick with ice cream and milk rather than the typical US (just) flavored milk).
a photo of another inspiration in the village -- the Red Pump Garage (not so red these days) featured in Danny, Champion of the World.
All in all a really nice day out. Thanks again, Jay.
On Sunday we had a really nice night out with many fellow Rolls-Royce ex-pats. Dave, Sarah and Anna Anderson are on their way back home next week and we all got together to wish them well. Glad we could all take part (too bad only the close half of the table was looking). We turned out to be a rowdy bunch so I hope they invite us back! Good luck repatriating Andersons!
Nicole got a chance to hold Anna. What a cutie.
That's all this week. Have a good week everyone.